Monday, February 24, 2014

A5 Planner setup and supplies - 2014

Hi friends,

This is the coordinating post for my latest YouTube video series on my Franklin Covey Classic Planner which unfortunately is discontinued in this size but is still available in the Compact (slightly wider than the Filofax Personal) size.
I use the Boston in emerald green and have been loving it for quite some time now. The leather is of very good quality, soft and supple, and the price is also very affordable (on sale for $49.50)!
This post is mostly about the supplies I use as well as a general overview of the contents of my planner.

I keep my planner organized and as clutter free as possible.

One of the main reason for keeping decoration to a minimum is my desire to avoid as many distractions as possible. But since I needed to make it my own, I have dedicated the first four pages to family pictures and sentiments. I see them everyday, but they never are distracting me from the tasks and planning I need to focus on.

For instance, and above, I use the Martha Stewart's top loading sheets to keep pictures of my boys as well as a full chapter of a vintage copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Inside the left pocket, I keep the bare minimum (inside a Post-It repositionable envelope).

I only need a few items: post its, a few flags and a selection of washi-tape I wrapped around an old ID card.

Supplies I use for this section:

"Sn@p! Pages Double-Sided Heavyweight Cardstock  I use this paper collection throughout my planner.
Martha Stewart Secure Top Sheet Protectors I use these top loading sheet protectors to insert mementoes and page dividers.
Martha Stewart Planner Insert Stickie notes These are some of my favorite stickie notes. The best part is that they come attached to a sturdy sheet of plastic (a planner insert) which can be cut to size. Above, I only keep the blue ones inside the pocket.
3M - Post-It Pockets I love,love love! these post-it pockets. they are made of durable plastic and are shaped like envelopes. The back has a stickie side which allows the pocket to stay put and flat within my secretarial pocket. It is big enough to contain the few supplies I carry around and the Velcro closure keeps all my supplies nicely tucked in.

For further detail, check out my two videos below:

Part I - Focus Section:

Part II - Home Management Section:

As you can tell by the titles above, I have divided my planner into two distinct categories: a Focus Section and a Home Management Section.

 Focus Section :

Here, I keep all my calendars (monthly and week-on-two-pages). I also have additional dividers for  Goals, Wishlist and Blog/Vlog Sections.

For my week-on-two pages, I use my own inserts which can be found in all three sizes (A5/Compact/Personal) on my Etsy shop. This is where I plan my weekly to-dos, appointments, billing as well as journaling and water, rx and vitamins tracking.

I also keep all my goals for 2014 which  I divided into two separate categories: personal and home goals. In my Blog/Vlog category, I keep a simple schedule of blogs and vlogs I want to work on for the next four months, as well as a breakdown (to-dos)  for specific videos. Basically, this is where I plan My Great Challenge.

The wishlist category is further divided using the Post-it Tabs into Books to Read/Buy, To Buy and Gift Ideas.

Home Management:

Here, I keep all my routines including cleaning routines and a section for future meal planning.

I also have a large section dedicated solely to budgeting and paying off our debt as I follow the Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover method to do so. Again, refer back to my video to find out more about this section.


The Home Management section also contains a large category where every room of my home has a dedicated section for upcoming projects and to-dos.

I also keep another section for passwords as well as a health section for doctors follow ups, general health info, fitness etc.

In the back, I keep a few stickers, just for fun and added color.

So there you have it, this was a brief overview of my planner setup and again, everything is showcased with great detail in my two videos.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Connect with me on:


Sophia, NJ.

*My blog contains affiliate advertising for which I receive a small commission when you purchase from the links provided. I was not solicited to review any of the products mentioned. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Yves Rocher - 7.9 Elixir Review and 1500+ Subscriber Giveaway (2/14)

Hi friends,

I am so excited to have reached past the 1500 mark of YouTube subscribers that I have decided to do a giveaway for products from my favorite skincare line: Yves Rocher.

Many of you know that I am a Yves Rocher affiliate, which means that I receive a small commission for purchases made through my links. Honestly, I am being very careful with the affiliates I chose and only affiliate my blog with those companies I either use and like and truly believe in.

Before I get into the giveaway, though you can scroll all the way down now if you want to know about it, I wanted to take the time to give you an honest review on Yves Rocher's brand new 2014 - 7.9 Elixir skincare line.

As you may already know, I am a huge fan of the 7.9 Elixir Serum. I have been using it for almost two years without interruptions and find it to be the best serum of the market (for price, quality and results). Last month, Yves Rocher launched its coordinating line of day/night creams as well as a new Roll-On Eye cream. I just had to try them and of course, you are now getting the full review.

As a small disclaimer, these are my own opinions, I was not contacted by Yves Rocher to do a review on these products (though I wish they would since I  love that company so much) and I also purchased all the products below on my own.

Here are the products I am going to review today:

Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifying Serum:

Elixir 7.9 Youth Energizer day and night creams:

Elixir 7.9 Youth Energy Eye Care Roll-on:

***UPDATE*** For some reason my affiliate links are not working or are too old, sending you to pages where the products are not on sale. To view these and other products online via Yves, use the small green Yves Rocher logos throughout this post. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty 

Let me start with the one product I have been consistently using over the past two years:

Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifier

Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifier

Elixir 7.9, with 7 plants and 9 anti-aging patents, delivers all its concentrated power to your skin with one single drop. To be used every day, morning and evening, under your usual day cream to greatly increase its rejuvenating effectiveness or, as a 1-month intensive treatment 2 to 3 times per year, when your skin needs it. Paraben-free formula, tested under dermatological supervision. Suitable for all women and all skin types. Elixir 7.9 has been tested and approved by nearly 200 women during a 1-month period. They noted visible rejuvenating effects on their skin: - Smoothed wrinkles, - Boosted radiance, - Protected skin, - Refined skin texture, - Redensified skin, - Relaxed skin, - New skin effect, - Revitalized skin, - Firmer skin. 1 fl. oz. Bottle with dropper / 30 ml
Why do I love this product so much? It simply does the job! The texture is that of a milky serum, it is now gooey or tacky to the touch. It glides onto the skin and penetrates immediately. Personally, I find the texture to be exactly what I need since I do not like products that require working them into the skin by pulling it all sorts of way to get the it to penetrate.
YR recommends that you use it 2-3 times per year as an intensive treatment. I have been using it day and night all year long without any issues and  find that it preps my skin just right before applying my Serum Vegetal 3 creams. On a side note, it does have a strong fragrance (that of fresh cut grass) which may not be suitable for all. I have no problems with it, as a matter of fact, I like it very much.
With regards to wrinkles, I find it noticeable when I have not used it for a few days, my skin becomes parched and small fine lines start to appear, I also tend to become dry on the side of my cheeks. I cannot say enough good things about this Elixir 7.9 youth Intensifier!

Click on the logo link below to browse online via

Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty
Day Cream
Its moisturizing texture combines the comfort of a cream with the freshness of a gel. 3 out of 4 women noted re-energized skin.
I fell in love with this new product. Typically I would use a thick  formula for day/night cream and found it very refreshing to try something less heavy (despite the rough winter months). I have been using this product for a little bit under one week and can already see and feel results. It has the same scent than the serum (the comments above will apply here as well on that regard) and the texture is that of a creamy gel, but it is fluffy, almost like a soufflĂ©. It applies very well and penetrates the skin after only a few strokes and without pulling or needing work.
Overall, I found that my skin was "put together" after using this cream for only a few days. I had a few dry patches alongside my cheeks which are now gone. Best of all, it absolutely does not interfere with my makeup in that it does not sip through like other creams would. I just love it.
Here is the best part about this Youth Energy Day Care cream: It comes with an eco-friendly refill option. The jar itself is comprised of two parts, the container and the cream which is contained inside a pod, once there is no more product, you can purchase the refill pod instead of the entire jar, saving you a whole bunch of money (full price on the jar is $48, the refill is $22). The full item is currently on sale at $26, so even on sale, the refill pod is still a bargain - great work YR!

Click on the logo link below to browse online via

Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty
Night Cream

This night cream is a little bit different in both texture and fragrance but works equally well. It is richer in that I mean it is thicker in consistency and needs a bit more work to penetrate. That being said, the results, thus far, are equally impressive. As for the fragrance, I thought it was a bit stronger than the day cream or even the serum. It is still within the "cut grass" scent category though.
As with the day cream, you can purchase a refill for a bigger bargain afterwards, not to mention saving the environment.

I only have one complaint about these two products and it is very similar to other reviews I mentioned in the past. One cannot distinguish the day from the night jar without having to read the label. While it may seem minor to some, I find it annoying. Though it does clearly state on the front that it is either day or night (with a little moon logo), I tend to not wear my glasses when I go about my skincare routine and find myself constantly looking at the front of the label to ensure that I am using the right product. It would be nice if YR was providing different colored jars to distinguish them from one another (say for instance a dark and a light green or a different lid color). Until then, I will have to resort to using a sharpie and marking the lids accordingly.

Click on the logo link below to browse online via
Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty

Youth Energy Eye-Care Roll on:

Eye Care Roll-On

Wow! Here is a miracle product for you! In the past, I shied away from roll- on applicators, having had a bad experience with Mary Kay's Targeted Action Eye Revitilizer. I thought the product smelled absolutely horrible, in the like of stale vinegar, and did not care for the huge roll-on ball that came with it. I have read that roll-on balls have a depuffing benefit and I can imagine why, they are cold to the touch and apply even pressure to the area in need of added blood flow and oxygen. So I gave this one a try, wanting to experience the full line of 7.9 elixir products.
This one comes with a set of three mini roll-on balls that are cold to the touch and tiny enough to target those areas in need, without overdoing it.
After only one week of use, I found that the upper part of my lids (the hooded part) has shrunk visibly, at least to me. Fine lines are less visible, crows feet still there, but then again at my age, what did I expect?
All you have to do is squeeze a bit of product out of the tube and apply. I use it day and night. So far, I am loving it and will definitely repurchase.

Click on the logo link below to browse online via
Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty

So, that was my full review of the new 7.9 Elixir skincare line from Yves Rocher. I need to add that the company also offers skin type options within this range: sensitive skin and dry skin options are available.

I would give it a 4.5 stars out of 5 (fragrance and labeling being an issue).

If you want to know more about these products you may want to check out my coordinating YouTube video below:

How about a giveaway?

You guys have been outstanding supporters over the past 18 months this blog has been running and I dare say I would not be able to make it as a content writer and minor (very minor) YouTube celebrity without your continued support and sharing of my blog.
And since I now have over 1500 YouTube subscribers (as of 02/14/14), It is time I give back with yet another Yves Rocher Giveaway and it is an opportunity for you to try some of their products:

You could win all the products below:

In the giveaway I have included the following brand new Yves Rocher products:

* 2014 Yves Rocher Green book catalogue
* Pure Calmille Cleansing Milk (full size) - I like it a lot especially as a makeup remover.
* Wrinkle Reducer Face are for ultra sensitive skins (this is a brand new line to me and did not try it yet).
* Micellar Cleansing Water (travel size) which I use as a toner and spoke about in my last video.
* Laotian Lotus Flower Deodorant (can't live without it)
* Fizzy Bath Cube in Vanille Or (vanilla) - smells divine
* Pouch to carry it all.

Here are the rules:

You must be 18 years or older (otherwise parental approval is needed).
You need to complete the Rafflecopter giveway entry below (the more entries you complete, the more chances you have to win).
You must be a subscriber to my YouTube Channel.
Like me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.
Open Internationally.

The giveaway is open until 2/28/14, at which point the winner will be announced here, on Facebook and Twitter. You will then have one week to respond to me with your address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Connect with me on:


Sophia, NJ.

Get a Free Gift with any purchase.

*My blog and posts contain affiliate advertising. I receive a commission on purchases made through my links. I am not solicited to write reviews, nor did I receive free products for this review. All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Organizing catch-all drawers - part II

Hi friends,

As promised, this week end I tackled the monster in my living room, namely, this lovely 1930's dresser:

I refer to it as the monster, because the contents of the drawers look like this:

We have this flaw in my house, whereby things look pretty clean and organized on the outside, but don't you go open a closet door, or in this case a drawer, for this is the mess you will encounter.
Cleaning is just a chore, and we know that, but it becomes even more of a burden when things don't really have a place to go to. You have all heard of the old saying: "everything has a place and everything in its place"...It took me a while to appreciate it.
Having decided that I just had enough with looking for things, I took on this project which, by the way, was a big annoyance to me that day...Oh well, I put myself in that position.

Anyway, just as with the last drawer project, I started with emptying all the drawers and sorting out items into categories: trash, put somewhere else, keep here.

I had to think about the function of these drawers, namely, what would be their optimum use based on our lifestyle.

Bottom drawer (deepest/tallest):

My boys do homework in the dining room, which is convenient since I either cook nearby or am on the laptop right next to them. While I do have a mini office in my dining room (see my mini-office post here), I do not keep their homework necessities in it and as a result, it tends to linger on top of other furniture.

I went to Michaels and purchased these two plastic storage containers for the purpose of storing their homework essentials:

These were 40% off - I thought it was a good deal and I think I paid no more that $8 each.

I labeled each box and filled it with what I believe are the items they are most likely to need when doing homework or drawing while watching TV (which they do a lot).

Each storage box contains an individualized supplies container, (for instance, Edward needs a lot of post-it notes, pencils, pens, scissors etc.) homework curriculum supplements, paper (ruled and sketch) as well as a folder for keepsakes and memorabilia.

William's container follows the same principle but provides more grade appropriate supplies such as crayons and craft paper.

I need to label his crayon box

In the middle, I am keeping a three hole puncher and a stapler (these items are too big for my mini-office but are always in demand on the first floor of the house).


Top Drawer (shortest):

I needed a space for what I know to be immediate need items related to TV: the remotes, a TV guide/channel listing and lotions are now located in the top drawer - closest to the sofa.

On the other side of the drawer, I am keeping items I may need on hand but not necessarily every day, namely, my thank you cards. I do write Thank Yous, I think it is one of those essentials in life that most folks now think as "passé". Not me! That being said, I don't need my cards in my mini office and they do not fit in the dining room drawer I organized last week. They now have a home in the living room, where I can access them without having to go up to the office. My address book found a home next to it. I also keep the Christmas and other Holiday thank you cards in the back of the drawer.

Middle Drawer:

I really had to think about the main purpose of this drawer. I knew I needed a space for blankets and throws which we use when watching TV in late hours of the day.

I now keep blankets and throws in this drawer - nearest to the sofa, for easy access
But, I also realized that I had no designated space in the house for my photo and video equipment. Since I do most of my editing in the dining room, using my laptop, it seemed appropriate to use the remaining space in this drawer as a storage for all things digital.

My camera bag and additional lenses are in the back. In the black container I keep all cords and chargers. In the green basket, I keep my main camera (which I obviously used to take the picture above, hence its absence in the picture) which is a Cannon EOS T1. I also keep two additional small point and shoot digital cameras as well as my video camera (Sony HD). In a smaller container, I now keep all the SD cards and card adapters.

Here is a video to show you the entire process:

I am very happy with the result. I feel that I have created functional spaces and hopefully will keep them as such. I find that designating specific spaces for specific items does limit the risk of using the space for other purposes.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Happy New Year,

Sophia, NJ.

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.
*This blog contains affiliate advertising such as Vera Bradley or Yves Rocher. I am not solicited to advertise or review products, all opinions are my own.


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